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Online Course

HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism

All-Time Top 100

Princeton University via edX

(172)

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Overview

In this course, we look for answers to seemingly unsolvable queries: Why breathe? Why breed? Why bleed? What justifies continuing, creating, and killing lives? Seeking answers to these thorny questions, Princeton University and Tel Aviv University have joined hands to create a unique online course that delves into the depths of the human condition and its politics.



Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism (HOPE) is a journey into the human condition and its politics, turning to existentialism for guidance. The course explores, on both individual and political levels, the following themes: Human / nature, identity & authenticity, freedom, reflection, happiness, death & dread, meaning, morality & ethics, truth & trust, God & religion, alienation & love, and finally—hope.”

Most philosophers ask “what is the good life?” and answer "to feel good, or to be good, or to do good." Existentialism asks “what is life good for?” and traces the answers that people, in their lived experience, give—to foster our own.

HOPE is a richly interdisciplinary course anchored in political science and philosophy. It also draws on history, sociology, psychology, and economy—synthesizing theoretical insights with empirical findings, both vintage and novel. HOPE shows that science and art can create a wonderful synergy when studying—indeed foregrounding—our humanity.

HOPE employs novel technologies in ways that enhance—not drain—our humanity and our ability to turn from “power politics” to “purpose politics,” cultivating creative, courageous, civil choices—the gist of existential politics.

In HOPE, you will find:
  • Animated talks, interviews and student discussions
  • Exploration of key concepts and figures—thinkers, artists, and politicians—both ancient and modern
  • A host of fascinating questions to probe alone, and together, with friends and in class
  • Myriad multimedia features, including various forms of art (painting, prose and poetry, cinema, tv, and music)
  • An invitation to choose between several edifying projects, including a personal journal and a collective newspaper

HOPE has been created in collaboration with Tel Aviv University.

Taught by

Uriel Abulof

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Reviews for edX's HOPE: Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism Based on 172 reviews

  • 5 stars 90%
  • 4 stars 8%
  • 3 stars 2%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 1%

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  • 1
Everaldo O
by Everaldo completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This is a course with an innovative approach and a deep reflection. With a brilliant organization and exposition of topics, we are immersed in relevant issues of our time, analyzing concepts underlying our human existence. This course is a journey guided by history, where we find great names of human...
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Sorcha C
Sorcha is taking this course right now, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
This course is one of the richest and most thought-provoking courses I've taken. It combines philosophy, arts and politics to challenge our notions on a variety of topics ranging from identity, love, hope to alienation, death, god and many more. The underlying philosophy is existentialist, the politics...
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Donny A
Donny completed this course.
I finished the course HOPE, offered by Princeton (Edx). I completed 30 other MOOC before taking this one. This was the Captsone of the previous 30 MOOC. The title of the course itself draws you in like a magnet. It has 2 Names ! 1.) HOPE. 2.) Human Odyssey to Political Existentialism. As we age,...
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Maria O
by Maria completed this course.
This course HOPE: Human Odyssey To Political Existentialism has ignited my interest in philosophy and political science. It has lead a path to self-discovery as well. Existentialism is finding meaning and purpose in this imperfect world. It is a philosophical theory that emphasizes the freedom of choice...
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Denis O
by Denis is taking this course right now.
Absolutely outstanding! I have taken many many courses, both online and in class, this is one of the best, most provocative, most interesting, most insightful. Uriel is a fantastic lecturer and teacher, but more than that, he has clearly spend a huge amount of time and energy in thinking about how best...
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Anonymous
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
No doubt it won the number one course. This course is amazing. It gave me lots of "wow" moments. The combination between music, art, poetry, science and philosophy was enriching , powerful and pleasurable. some anecdotes... - when Tori Amos came with "crucify" in lesson 7 I screamed WOW out loud...
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
The structure of this course is innovative and very appealing, incorporating so much artwork and music videos. You could even say that the music videos are the foundation of the course.

It is quite a bit of work. Each lesson takes 2-3 hours.

The downside, and this is probably true for all online courses, is the lack of feedback. There is nothing to stop you submitting facile answers to the many discussion questions. You can read a lot of other responses (but I bet this is rarely done); otherwise, there is nothing to challenge you or make you think more deeply. I am also not sure whether I could now summarize the key ideas or articulate what I've learned.

Having said that, it is a hugely interesting topic, presented with verve and is though-provoking, both from what the professor says directly and from the art and music.
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Dave R
by Dave completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
In some ways this MOOC is more of a personal journey than the traditional learning vehicle. It certainly made me think more about philosophical issues than any other course and in a more personal and immediate way. Because of this it could be fairly challenging, and it needs to approached with an open mind. I certainly am much clearer about the existentialist world view as a result. It also helped me look at some of the philosophers I'd previously read about from a different and richer perspective. And the additional sources provided will occupy me for some considerable time.

Most of the lectures finished with an "outro", a piece of music whose lyrics prompt questions relevant to that lecture (I'm listening more closely to lyrics than I used to); the choice of music is excellent - and additional reason for taking the course.
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Who could imagine existentialism could be so groovy?! Pardon the expression, but my age obliges. I read a couple of existentialist books when I was young, which is probably when most people do, but then forgot much about them, and about what brought me to them. You know, life. Then I came across this course, and it made me nostalgic for those days, regret that I somehow let them pass, but so happy to get this reminder. I watched religiously the Professor's lectures (he looks too young to be professor, too old to still think about these questions!), but only occasionally visited other activities, and they all look fun. Take a couple of lessons and see for yourself - if you're still young at heart, you'll love it!
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Wow. HOPE was such a meaningful and informative course. I am a literature and philosophy student, and this course brought the two together (with the added bonus of political thought and current events). Uriel is an engaging teacher, and each video is filled with beautiful artwork, imagery, clips, and songs, which really help bring the lesson to life (and keep me engaged). The quizzes felt so easy, because I was effortlessly picking up information. It felt like a personal, meaningful documentary series; something I would even watch during my free time (if I had any).

Highly recommended.
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Angie R
Angie completed this course, spending 11 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
This was an incredible class! I learned so much on a topic that I knew very little about but has pushed me to continue to learn more about. There were so many levels to it that did not see coming- art, music, literature in addition to the philosophy that I knew would be the main topic. I loved trying to guess what the outsong would be at the end of each lecture, I only got one right, but they were all songs that I knew. I have also restocked my reading list with many novels from the class. Thanmk you so much for a wonderful ride!
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This is my first online course, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I really enjoyed it. It’s demanding, but not too much, and very rewarding. It’s a very smart course, full of ideas, and some surprises. The lectures are very engaging, I liked the music, and there’s a lot going on in the gallery. I spent there about 2-3 hours a week, and don’t regret it for a minute. If you’re interested in people and politics, you’d love it.
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
It is a perfect way to keep learning, honestly, I never thought I was going to take an online course, but I decided to take it for these quarantine days considering the virus COVID-19, I do not regret taking so a nice a well design course that helped me keep learning new stuff and principally in the studies I am leaned to. It is awesome to know that universities and platforms are putting real interest in people's education.

Always keep learning!
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I have just finished the course, not only it has met but has exceeded my expectations.

A fascinating journey through timeless, universal ideas and how they suprisingly relate to modern politics and art. Congratulations to professor Uriel for menaging to squeeze so much meaning in such brief time. Highly recommended to anyone who wonders, why breath, why breed, why bleed.
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This class is engaging on many levels. Professor Uriel Abulof brilliant use of music, art, and movies to help enforce the lesson ideas and concepts gave this class a great level of depth and changed the way I view art and how I plan to incorporate it more in my teaching.
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Essential for anyone. People need to know these things. The public needs to educate themselves. Stunning ideas and insight, alongside fascinating Art, poetry and beautiful music. This course surpassed all my expectations by astronomical amounts. Thank you very much, it has been a pleasure!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This is a powerful and challenging course. It cuts to the deep meaning of what it is to live a meaningful life. I have taken well over 100 MOOCs and this one touched me deeper than any other.
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Gisela F
Gisela completed this course, spending 12 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
A multi faceted, fabulous romp through our choices and responsibilities in life. The course is extremely engaging because it combines a serious look at classical thinkers with a taste of pop music and art and the reality of modern life.. Not only did I reread some of my favorite authors, I gathered a...
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I really enjoyed the course, its structure, content, and form of transfer. I enjoyed Uriel's videos that are interestingly conveyed and incorporate snippets of movies, pictures, paintings, and songs that I think helped me connect to each episode and fully understand it. Each chapter raised interesting...
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Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Absolutely wonderful. Possibly one of the best courses created, thank you for this journey. A great source of food for thought to brighten and consider every day!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

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